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Friday, September 29, 2006

It's "Why the Terrorists Hate Us Friday"!

Item: Faux Fireflies Jar
Catalogue: Signals
Cost: $17.95
This week I learned that if I went out and caught fireflies in a jar this summer that I was a total jerkwad. Because here's what the folks at Signals tell me about this product: As a child, your conscience never even blinked when you captured dozens of fireflies. We offer this humane-but no less captivating-alternative. That's right, this isn't about selling you a jar with fake bugs in it. It's about being humane. You know who should purchase this product? The set decorator for the Plotzville High School production of "Our Town." You know who shouldn't? Everyone else.

P.S.-Forgot to do this for last week's inaugural edition, but I want to give a nod to VP of Dior whose Friday Boobies feature inspired this one.

Cong. Foley's Staff: We Are Confident We Can Outstupid Sen. Allen's Campaign Staff

So, there's some question today over whether Cong. Mark Foley has gotten himself into a bit of a pickle with a former, 16-year-old page. But it's not even Foley's alleged NSFCongressionalW emails that have me snickering the most. It's his staff's crackerjack explanation:

Foley's office says it is their policy to keep pictures of former interns and anyone who may ask for a recommendation on file so they can remember them.

Mahuh. Yeah.

(Side gossip: An unimpeachable source of mine dined with one of Tom DeLay's top staffers down in Palm Beach a few years back and he stated point blank that there was "concern" because Foley had been drifting to younger and younger men.)

Anyway, so there's nothing to see here folks. Congressional staffs always keep books of teenage boys and girls' photos laying around like some taxpayer-funded Facebook. Strictly for record-keeping purposes.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sure It's Full of Hubris, But Hopefully It'll Spur Some Competition (yawn)

For the second consecutive week, I've won the football pool I'm in. We pick college and pro, against the spread.* This is earning my significant other a fair amount of ribbing at work. In response, he's telling them his strategy is "letting me get lulled" into complacency with early victories. Apparently this complacency will motivate me to do things like give Georgia 26.5 points, which is what he did last weekend. (Full disclosure: Thanks to an unspeakably rude and, I believe, mentally deficient Georgia fan's behavior in a bar five years ago I detest the Bulldogs. So I wouldn't give them 26.5 points against a Pop Warner team.)

But he's not the first to wrestle with the agony of being the First Lady to my President Asskicker. A few years ago, I worked at a newspaper that on Fridays ran five newsroom reporters' pictures and picks for the weekend games and pitted them against five sports reporters, one of whom was my boyfriend at the time. Halfway through my unfettered march to victory that season, he went to buy a car. The guy at the dealership recognized him from his picture and then immediately asked what in the hell the deal was with the girl who kept winning every week. Ouch.

So what's the verdict? Do I continue looting, pillaging and sowing salt in this one's fields? Or do I go Donna Reed and demurely take a dive?

*For you law enforcement types dropping by, we're strictly using Milk Duds for payment. And I've got stats that show just how much the folks at DOJ enjoy the blog. During the workweek. Between the hours of 9 and 5.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The One Where I Beat the D.C. Police Department

It started with a parking ticket on the windshield of my significant other's truck. Several actually. Not being a detail-oriented guy, he opted to wait until oh, never to pay them. They opted to hunt his truck down in front of our building and boot it. The next day, he was occupied and as his unofficial helper monkey, I got his debit card and went online to pay them. Thanks to the remarkably efficient system, I was finished in about three minutes, at 11:27 a.m. The online system assured me the boot would be removed before 6 p.m. Roughly an hour and a half later I headed out for a bit of shopping. Imagine my surprise when I returned several hours later and found an empty spot where the truck had been. A phone call to its owner confirmed he hadn't moved it. "The police tow it," grunted the nice old Greek man who sits at the gas station at the end of our block and observes such things, then slowly doles out the details to agitated young women. "Was two hours ago." Within minutes I was on the phone with a man at the police department towing dispatch who informed me that the truck had indeed been towed. The following tango ensued, with explanations numbering three:

1. "Welllll, yeah, the computer shows you paid this morning but the problem is we were already on the way to get it."

Me: "Nice try. I left the house more than 90 minutes after paying the tickets and the truck was still there. And I have the confirmation email showing what time I paid. You all had plenty of time to figure out that the truck shouldn't have been towed."

2. "OK, I talked to my supervisor and he said that yeah, it shouldn't have been towed. So just bring your receipt down to the impound lot in Southeast and--"

Me: "Absolutely not. (Admittedly, I became a bit of a crankypants here and the tone went from righteous indignation to redhead righteous indignation. It is not a subtle distinction.) I am not spending $20 on a cab to take me to God-knows-where Southeast because of your department's screw up. You guys came and towed it improperly, you can bring it back!"

At this point 22 minutes pass with me on hold as this works its way up the chain of command. I can only assume from the length of time, that this included Chief Ramsey, Anthony Williams, Adrian Fenty's transition team, the Queen, the Gettys, the Rothschilds, the Vatican, and Col. Sanders.

Then, came my favorite explanation of all. He couldn't even muster more than a half-hearted delivery:

3. "They, uh, say they would bring it back but there's a firehouse on that block so they're gonna have a problem getting the truck down through there to do it."

Me: "AHAHAHAHAHAHA! How about this: how about, NOPE! Tell them to send the same truck that they sent down the same street, past the same firehouse, to haul it out of here improperly. Seriously, I want the truck back in front of our building by 6."

And exactly one hour and 30 minutes later, came the D.C. Police Department, bearing my significant other's truck. Having arrived home as this saga was in its waning moments, he shook his head in amazement as we approached the truck. "I can't believe you just got them to do that," he said, before adding, "That. Just. Happened."

The End

Friday, September 22, 2006

A New Weekly Brunch Bird Feature!

A couple weeks ago I featured a catalogue item called "The Bumper Bonnet," which one astute commenter pointed out most closely paralleled putting a diaper with a chin strap on your kid's head. Well, I get a lot of catalogues thanks to the previous owners of my home and my decision to once purchase an item from a Restoration Hardware catalogue. Now I get approximately five a day. And these things are chock o' block with the inane, ridiculous, and just plain nutty. So I've decided that every Friday I'm highlighting one, in a feature called: Why The Terrorists Hate Us.

Today's item: White Funkins!
Courtesy of: Ballard Designs, October 2006
Price: $65
Yes, Ballard Designs is selling white polyurethane pumpkin decorations for the discerning home. And it's not just the product itself, it's the ad copy: "When it comes to pumpkins, white is the new orange." White is the new orange for pumpkins?! Where in the hell have I been?! How did I not know that yet?! Oh, and you can get your monogram carved into the pumpkin. Because an unmonogramed, orange pumpkin is so last fall.

Someone's Been Going to the Cocktail Parties....

Subject line on the email newsletter I just received from the National Press Club: "Covering Disaster, MediaBistro and more"

Yes, Hurricane Katrina, Asian Tsunami, "Romance Novelist Boot Camp!"
Nail, consider yourself hit on the head.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

If You Want to Oink Like a Pig You Take That Crap Over to Chipotle

When you go to a hockey game with tickets purchased by a commercial real estate bigwig, you sit in really ridiculously good seats. I've only been to one other hockey game in my life and was mystified at more than a few points. Paramount among them: when something called "The Hockey Song" came on and people in the arena enthusiastically chimed in like it was the national anthem.

Anyhoo, before the game, my friend and I met at California Tortilla and she informed me that if you make an animal noise you score free chips and queso there. I stepped to the counter and asked if I really had to make the noise to get the free grub. "Uh huh," the girl wearing an oversized foam zebra hat said, in a tone that indicated the weight of the world fell somewhere between the zebra's netherregions and her shoulders. So, daintily, I oinked. "It's gotta be a jungle animal," she sighed. Drawing a blank, I glanced at my friend. "How about a monkey?" she offered helpfully. I turned back to the register and gave an admittedly less-inspired "Ooh, ooh, ooh." Still scowling, she turned and bellowed "chips and queso," to the guy behind her. Later, at the table, my friend pondered why the girl made me even make the actual animal noise after I'd mentioned the offer. "Because she's working at California Tortilla for about $4.50 an hour, wearing a foam zebra hat," I said, "and if nothing else, she's making the chick on the other side of the counter make the goddamn animal noise."

Oh, and next time I'm totally doing a liger.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

But Really, Is Forcing Danity Kane On Us Any Better Than Forcing the Iraq War on Us?

Diddy to Bush: You no longer moisturize my situation and preserve my sexy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Brother, Can You Spare the Time to Zip It Up?

We're walking to work this morning and as we approach the corner of Connecticut and Calvert, a guy coming toward us takes a wide step in our direction and plants himself in front of my significant other. He didn't look homeless--neatly groomed and in a work shirt with his name on it--but I instantly thought, "He's going to ask for money and he's pretty aggressive about it." Because let's be honest, not many people step in front of you in this town unless they want you to give them money or "a few minutes to help the environment." So the guy leans in toward my significant other and quietly but firmly says in an elegant French accent, "Your zeeper man," and gives a dignified nod southward. Classic.

Epilogue, Or, How Life as a Blogger Changes Your Sense of Normal Conversation

We get off Metro at the other end of our commute and are strolling up K Street.
Me: "So do you mind if I blog about your crotch this morning?"
Him: (deep sigh) "No."

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Great Thing About Cell Phones Is That When Used Properly They Do the Voice-Transmitting Work for You

I'm on the train back from New York and the woman behind me is talking to her husband and two kids in Maryland. I'm guessing from her volume that she forgot her cell phone. (This nitwitt got on my bad side after she plopped down and promptly asked me to put my seat up. Answer: "No.") So in this conversation she's revealed in a series of joyful shrieks and moans to her husband that she "loooooves New York." Here's what had her ready to bust out with Sinatra: "Honey you're never going to believe where I bought clothes (pause before adopting theatrical singsong)...K-Mart! There's one by Penn Station! The K-Marts here are so nice that they're like the Targets by us!" (more shrieking ensued at her incredibly ironic find.) Then she starts crowing about the bagels and black-and-white cookies she bought at the terminal, "and honey you're never going to believe it--they're all kosher!" Imagine that--she found kosher snacks in New York! Look, I'm not so jaded that I can't cop to the fact that I still go a little giddy when I come up here. But here's the thing: I don't do it in the train car packed with people.

Now the woman in front of me on the other hand is at least having a much more interesting conversation. She hasn't stopped bitching into the phone about how her son's wife didn't pay her nearly enough respect for schlepping her tuchus up here for the bris. Sons of New York be forewarned: If you sent Nana home on the 163 yesterday you might want to keep an eye on the will. She's pissed.

Friday, September 15, 2006


God's wrath continues, unabated.

Observations On a Layover

*They've found a way to make paying $2 for a bottle of water more loathsome. Now you have to chug it like you're at a frat party any time you get near security or a gate.

*The Detroit airport is quite possibly the coolest ever. They have this crazyass quarter-mile-long tunnel connecting terminals that features changing washes of colored lights and ambient techno music. Conditioned by D.C., I expected to have to pay $14 for a cocktail to walk through it.

*People in Flint are relentlessly friendly. This is especially ironic considering that their economy is almost entirely collapsed. Showing visitors the city consists largely of driving them around and pointing out where stuff used to be. "That used to be a factory that employed 12,000. Now it's a wig shop. That's where city hall used to be. They sold it for scrap metal." Seriously though, they're really ridiculously nice. And not that Southern nice where they fill you up with cornbread and honey and hugs and then the minute you leave town they're all "Bless 'er heart, she's as slutty as a Hilton and dumber than a tree stump."

So consider Flint for your next vacation, honeymoon, or bar mitzvah. They need the dues.

Update: OMG, the Detroit airport just got even better. They have a stand that sells just peanut butter sandwiches. Like 15 types. I'm now eating peanut butter and Fluff. (This being health-conscious Detroit, I had the option of having bacon on it. I'm not even kidding.) I'm seriously thinking of going Eloise and moving to the airport.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Oh He's Going Old Testament on Me Today

Every now and then you post a bordering-on-blasphemous post about God. And then you wake up the next morning and remember that you've got to make a last-minute trip to Flint, Michigan for work. And you realize this is the equivalent of God simultaneously giving you the raspberries, thumbing His nose at you, and saying "Nice post, suckahhh!"

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

One Last Thing

I came to St. Matthew's Cathedral yesterday evening knowing that I was no closer to reconciling my anger with God than I was five years ago. Knowing that "Why?" and every permutation of that question were still my catechism for him. The homily was roughly five minutes long and its thesis was that the perpetrators of Sept. 11 lacked humility. That's it. They lacked humility. A ridiculous epilogue, made more maddening by the failure to in any way to address the corrosiveness of that day on people of shaken faith. When the mass concluded and people remained in the pews--I have to believe because they'd decided that sitting in silence might lead them to something that the inscrutable homily could not--the cantor went to the microphone and thanked people for coming but announced that the cathedral was closing in 10 minutes.

After mass, I drove out to my parents' hushed and empty house in Maryland for a sad task. I was fully in the gray by the time I returned to my own home and sat on the couch, ready for the day to come to an end. PBS was replaying a 2002 Frontline production called "Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero." In it, religious leaders, victims' relatives, scholars, artists and others speak about their decision to embrace or reject their spiritual beliefs in the events' aftermath. "If there is a god, he is a very indifferent god," says one. An Islamic scholar's voice cracks as he describes the moment of realization that "this remarkable amount of ugliness was committed in the name of the faith you believe in." One woman, whose mother died in the towers' collapse, describes the "deep, ancient rituals" of Catholicism that brought her from rejection of God back to a belief that "this cannot be God's will." Another says coldly that God has abandoned her.

Every Sunday since I was a little girl I had murmured with those around me for God to "deliver us from evil." I had taken it for granted that that would be done. So as I kneeled, stunned, in church on Sept. 12, 2001, it was this phrase that slapped me as it tumbled out of my mouth by rote. I was no more comfortable saying it yesterday than I was five years ago.

But as midnight came last night and Sept. 11, 2006, ended, the final words of "Faith and Doubt" played, accompanied by aerial footage of the beams that shine in memoriam at Ground Zero. Multiple interviewees described something that managed to rise above the cacophony of that day five years ago. They describe the photograph of a man and woman, perhaps strangers before that moment, reaching for each others' hands as they stepped off the ledge to their deaths. And hearing that, it reminds me for the first time in years about what I said to someone the day of the attacks: "I believe God in some way took fear away from the people forced to jump. Sleep, unconsciousness, something. He gave them that."

I believe God. I believe in God. I believe that that will never again be easy.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Just This For Today

Five years ago, I woke, fixed myself a bowl of cereal, sat on the couch and spread the newspaper out in front of me. The phone rang. My mother said immediately, "Your sister's o.k., but you should turn on the television." Some of the moments from that day are evaporating for me, some are vivid:

Crouching down against the wall in the elevator area of my newspaper to hear my sister in Manhattan talking on a bad cell phone connection and to keep people away from me. Listening later to my father's voice waver, then break, as he said that nobody had heard from the man who would become my sister's husband, who worked in one of the World Trade Center buildings facing the towers, since the towers fell. Writing faster than I ever had in order to get an early edition of our paper out. Listening as editors debated where to run a photo of a man jumping from the towers, in disbelief that this conversation was having to happen. Burying my face in my hands in a bathroom stall at work after finally hearing that my brother-in-law had run from his building to safety. Slumping in a booth at the bar our paper's staff hung out in, in near silence with other reporters, while the televisions around us replayed the unimaginable. Coming home and sitting on the couch, staring at the full bowl of cereal still sitting on the coffee table. Not sleeping.

It wasn't even close to a bad day in the scheme of things.
I'm thinking and praying today for the ones who had it bad.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Owww My Knees...

Yesterday's National Press Club 5K wasn't what I expected. I'd hoped to be velcroing up my Zips next to Nora O'Donnell or Helen Thomas ('cuz I totally could have smoked those chicks.) But alas, the only face in the crowd of about 600 that I even recognized was Jeff Gannon. I always seem to be at the same events or restaurants with him, and this time did little to dissuade me that the guy's more than a little odd. Not many other participants had a cell phone attached to their running pants. My significant other also couldn't help snarking that Gannon's credentials probably didn't warrant his participation in a National Press Club event.

And to the girl who crossed the finish line behind me and then tried to cut me off in the chute: nice try. Tomorrow, when the results are posted, the name right behind the Bird's at just under the 28:00 minute mark? She's a big fat cheater. But you know what Big Fat Cheater? Nobody cuts me off. I'm scrappy.

Friday, September 08, 2006

OMG! How Will He Ever Decide Whom To Slander First?!

Just got what is quite possibly the greatest press release ever from someone on the George Allen campaign email list:
September 8, 2006
(703) 845-**** (office) (703) 350-**** (cell)

Allen to Attend Fairfax Ethnic Community Rally on Saturday
ARLINGTON, VA--Senator George Allen will be a featured speaker at the Fairfax County Republican Committee's 3rd Annual Ethnic Community Campaign Kick-Off Rally on Saturday morning at Edison High School. Congressmen Tom Davis and Frank Wolf will also attend the rally. Among those in attendance will be: Afghan Americans, African Americans, Bolivian Americans, Chinese Americans, Colombian Americans, Cuban Americans, Filipino Americans, Indian Americans, Iranian Americans, Korean Americans, Pakistani Americans, Peruvian Americans, Puerto Rican Americans, Salvadoran Americans, Taiwanese Americans and Vietnamese Americans.
Saturday evening, Senator Allen will head to NASCAR's Chevy Rock and Roll 400 in Richmond where he will address the crowd and drivers before the race.

Sweet Jesus, he's going to be like a kid in a candy store! Just think of all the furious prep work his team must be engaged in right now teaching him the various slurs for each of those ethnic groups. Right now, a sweaty intern is furiously Googling and yelping "Salvadora?!" Is that even a country?!"

Let's see, Allen lost his 18-point lead in the polls with "Macaca," so by my calculations...subtract, carry the one, multiply by the square root...he stands to lose 288 points with this little outing! And I just love how he's wrapping the evening up. Because after a long day surrounded by colored people, you certainly need the tonic of NASCAR fans and drivers to soothe your jangled nerves.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

"Should we answer that?" "Nah, f**k 'em."

By now, word has gotten out that the company hired by the D.C. Board of Elections to print the sample ballots kicked it wide right, as it were and printed incorrect precinct locations on the ballots, thus ensuring Election Day confusion.

Well now the Board seems not so determined to help clean up the mess. Its website offers a three-sentence mea culpa and the office phone number for folks to call and straighten out where they're supposed to go vote Tuesday. So yesterday I called that number, 202-727-2525, expecting to get a frazzled, but ready to help city employee. Instead I got an answering machine message with a woman's voice saying no one was available and in no way indicating that I'd reached the board office. It was as if I'd called my Aunt Hildy and found her off to tea. I tried again today. No answer, and this time, no machine. I let it ring about 20 times and gave up.

Here's the thing D.C. officials: If you want the vote, act like you can handle the vote.

I Sure Hope That Chick From USA Today Isn't on Their Mailing List

Interesting column in USA Today this morning about how parents today are raising a nation of wussies. No arguments here. If I hear one more parent talk about how their child is allergic to the air that surrounds peanuts or about how germy every surface their child comes into contact with is, I'm going to make them watch me lick a grocery cart handle then lick their kid's stroller.

So imagine my delight when, courtesy of the previous homeowners, the One Step Ahead catalogue arrived today. Tagline: Because the alternative is being one step behind and that makes you a crappy parent. And it contained The Bumper Bonnet: Rookie walkers and crawlers are prone to bumps and bruises. Finally we found a toddler head cushion to shield baby's delicate head. (Talk about piece of mind!)

Peace of mind, apparently, that there will never be any doubt that your child will be unable to handle difficulty in life. And the best part? They advertise it for sizes 6-36 months. They want parents putting these things on 3-year-olds. If your kid is old enough to say, "You're off your rocker if you think you're putting that on me. I'm going to watch Blues Clues," then they're too old for The Bumper Bonnet.

Parents of America, I did the following before reaching age 9:
1. Hurled down a set of stairs while practicing my ballet moves.
2. Stood on a glass case to retrieve something higher than my reach.
3. Ate a radish out of the garden. Not from the garden. Out of the garden. Dirt and all.
I am still alive. I have a three-inch long white scar down the front of my left gam and a healthy mistrust of vegetables, but I am wiser for each of those experiences. Please put down the bubble wrap and step away from your child.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Swimming With Stingrays

I never really liked the Crocodile Hunter. I never saw him as more than an overgrown kid poking his stick at nature. "Just leave the damn animals alone," I'd mutter before changing the channel. For my money, nothing beat Jacques Cousteau. When I was little, I'd watch his elegant specials with my dad and be inspired, imagining myself as a great explorer slipping over coral reefs. Watching the Crocodile Hunter only ever inspired me to think, "This jackass sort of deserves to have a bite taken out of him." (I assure you though, I may not like the character someone plays on TV but I'd never wish them dead. Call it the Ann Coulter Principle.)

But Steve Irwin's death made me think back to a few years ago, when I went swimming off the Caymans with stingrays. Nothing fancy, just went out in the middle of the ocean and hopped off the boat.
The guys who took us out gave the requisite warning: stingrays can be dangerous because of the barbs on their tails. But I thought nothing of floating underwater and letting them swirl around me. In the pictures we took under the sea that day I never stopped smiling. One guy with us got lashed on the foot, but even that was sort of treated on the hush-hush up in the boat, and I didn't get out of the water. Now, in light of Irwin's death, I wonder if I'd be so cavalier again about splashing into an unfamiliar creature's home. Maybe there are places we're not meant to go.

One Last Reason Clemson Will Win the National Championship This Year

We've got this guy on the roster.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My Dad Can Find Cooler Links Than Your Dad

My father just emailed what is quite possibly the greatest link ever.

Scenes From a Carmax

Went to Carmax this weekend to unload the convertible I acquired while living in West Palm Beach. It broke my heart because I love that car but I really don't need it since we've got another vehicle, I take Metro and cabs pretty much everywhere, it was a matter of time before it got stolen, and I'd like to get off the big oil teat.

Selling a car to Carmax is a fairly painless process. You schlep out to Laurel, they offer you about $3,000 less than the Blue Book value, you grudgingly agree, then sit in the waiting room for about three hours eating a nutritious vending machine Pop-Tart and diet Coke lunch and watching Spanish telenovelas while they do paperwork and the woman next to you threatens to knock her kids into next week if they don't sit down and shut up. While waiting, I noticed this sign on the door to the kid's closed play area. Ugh. That can't be good.

I'll Wear White Whenever I Bloody Well Feel Like It

Labor Day weekend silliness began Friday with a marathon round of drinking at McCormick and Schmick's with the staff of everybody's favorite hometown newspaper. Don't ask me why it wasn't at the Post Pub as usual. Something about comped drinks. And indeed, one intrepid young reporter gracefully took a glass full of red wine down the back of his shirt which translated to a good deal of alcohol on the house. And that was great because the rest of the bar tab rang up at $300.

While chatting with the guy to my right, who apparently writes a blog that the kids can't get enough of (something about fishing? or bowling maybe?) he mentioned that he was partying with Clinton Portis later that night. Which made me think one thing: the Redskins are 0-4 in the preseason, Portis is supposed to be focused on rehabing his shoulder injury, and the dude's throwing parties? (UPDATE: So the Examiner's new gossip column informs me that Portis had the birthday party thrown for him by Santana Moss and Carlos Rogers. And that there were caged tigers and model-geishas in thong leotards. Everything explained: how could they possibly concentrate on football when they had to spend the past month parsing model-geisha tail?)

After a liver-softening amount of sauce we decided it would be a great idea to go back to my place for more of the same. This was actually something of a cut-the-red-wire-or-the-blue-wire situation because the alternative was to go next door to Archibald's. I take it as the ultimate compliment that cocktails at our place ended up winning out over boobs. Perhaps because the former was free and the latter is always pricey. (You know how they jack the rates up to snag people over the holidays.)

After that, the rest of the weekend was sort of all over the place. Football, brunch, shopping in Georgetown, a drive over to Baltimore to get crabs at Obrycki's. Highlight of the weekend's miscellany: watching "The Maltese Falcon," and "Bridge on the River Kwai." How I've gotten to this point in life without ever seeing them is beyond me. Except for now I've got that damn whistling from "Bridge" stuck in my head. Limeys...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

It's Hard Out Here for a Cartoon Viking

One David S. Rose of Silver Spring writes in today's letters to the WaPo editorial page about a woefully slighted and often dangerously stereotyped group: men. Specifically, white, male, cartoon vikings. Yes David S. Rose, like Martin Luther King Jr. and Che Guevera all rolled into one, sternly admonishes the Post for running a "Hagar the Horrible" strip in which Hagar is bandaged because his wife clocked him in the head with her iron. Rose writes, "Attention is only beginning to be paid to the physical and psychological harm to men and boys when men are routinely depicted as fools on television and in movies and when boys' academic performance and dropout rates are at a crisis level. Such stereotypes can no longer be played for laughs."

Yes David S. Rose, you've hit the nail on the head. It's not pitifully funded schools and rampant poverty causing boys to perform poorly in school and drop out, it's a cartoon viking getting hit on the head with an iron. And for this blow to men to come in such an incredibly significant media venue as "Hagar the Horrible..." (One wonders how the strip's eight readers ever managed to decide who was going to write the letter to the Post about its certain A-bomb-like impact on society.)

I salute you David S. Rose, for having the courage to stand up and say "Hey, violence against cartoon vikings isn't funny, and it can be easily extrapolated to be a free pass for the scads of straw men, oops, I mean hordes of people, who just haven't ever given men the support they need in this society." Too many people are falling all over themselves to advocate forcefully against poverty, war and disease. Thank you for having the courage to turn your mighty pen to this particular cause. Fight on good soldier, fight on.

Next week: Rose blasts Andy Capp's wife for forcing him to sleep on the couch, creating a culture of psychological abuse and spinal ailments, and by extension, an increase in divorce rates and children being born to single mothers.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Conversation at a Metro Entrance

On the way home yesterday I noticed a guy ahead of us carrying a bouquet of flowers. The following ensued:
Me: "What do men think when they see a guy carrying flowers home at the end of the day? Do they think 'That's nice,' or do they think 'That guy's fucking it up for all of us because all these other chicks are noticing?'"
Significant other: "They think that that dude screwed up."
Me: "Really?"
Significant other: "Yes. I'm a man and that's what I think."
Me: (sigh.)

Men, please stop on the way home today and buy your dame some flowers. Even if she has said to you in the past, "Oh, I don't need flowers," or any variation thereof, what she likely means is: "I don't need flowers, but..."

I Wish I Was a Home Improvement Ninja

Toilet's broken. The handle fell off out of the blue the other day and then suddenly it would constantly run until I tapped that black floaty thing. Long story short: at least $310 to replace the fill valve. But the kindly plumber who came out this morning said that if "the Mr." was mechanically inclined (apparently, I didn't even warrant being included in this statement) we could buy one for about $5 and replace it ourselves. Oh, and that'll be $65 to come out and not do any work. But he was an affable chap, telling me about his upcoming motorcycle trip this weekend. And as I ushered him out the door and he was telling me about his most recent 3,000-mile ride across the South, he said the following: "Got crop dusted in Tennessee, but you know how that goes. Have a good one!"
Yes, if I had a dollar for every time I've been crop dusted while piloting my chopper across Tennessee....I'm starting to think I need to do more living. Not just living, but Living.